Updated 1 year ago by Marnee Banks (Helena)
The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission is giving people another chance to hunt bison.
On Thursday, by a 4 to 1 vote, the commission decided to allow hunters the opportunity to shoot a bison outside defined tolerance areas and outside the hunting normal season.
Commissioner A.T. Stafne says he is concerned because this could allow hunters to trespass onto reservations.
FWP staff reports they will be drafting an agreement with the tribes to address his concern.
FWP Commissioner Dan Vermillion said, "This is just another opportunity for us to create some opportunity for people who would like to harvest a buffalo but presently don't have the opportunity because we just don't have enough places that we can hunt them, and they can come in a year like this I don't think any of them come out of the park."
Stafne said, "I basically feel they will be impinging upon our sovereignty without our knowledge probably. That was my only issue dealing with the bison on the reservation. I supported the other part."
Commissioners also discussed whether or not to extend the wolf hunt in the Bitterroot region; the commission had hoped hunters would harvest 18 wolves in the Bitterroot but only were six killed.
In a 5 to 0 vote, the commission decided to stop the hunt despite low harvest numbers. The season closed earlier this week with a total of 166 wolves harvested across the state; the quota had been set at 220.
FWP Director Joe Maurier says residents need to remember the majority of the problems caused in the area are due to mountain lions.
However, he says he is fully prepared to take a plan to the next legislature which addresses the problem wolves in the area.
Maurier said, "Within the first two weeks of the legislature that we get this wolf package passed which would allow some electronic calling, more than one wolf to be taken, so more than one license to be purchased, and allowing all of those sorts of tools to be used."
Maurier says the agency is completing a comprehensive study on wolves and those results will help dictate the next steps.